Pew finds that more and more Americans are religiously unaffiliated:
One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling. In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6% of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%).
Alan Jacob asks:
The question I would ask is this: Has there been an actual increase in religiously unaffiliated people, or do people who are in fact unaffiliated simply feel more free than they once did to acknowledge that fact? My suspicion is that until quite recently a person born and baptized into the Catholic church who hadn’t attended Mass in fifteen years would still identify as a Catholic; but recently is more likely to accept his or her unaffiliated status.
Razib Khan adds:
There has always been a tendency for more people to hold to atheistic and agnostic positions than those who would admit to being atheists or agnostics. That gap is closing. Why? I have no idea, but I do think that people need to stop talking about how terrible the New Atheism is for secularists. I doubt this wave of secularization has anything to do with the New Atheism (it precedes it), but certainly the New Atheism has not turned people off to secularism.
And Ed Kilgore thinks politically:
[I]t’s important to remember that America remains far and away the most religiously oriented of advanced industrial democracies. But without question, the Democratic Party with its ever-strenghtening commitment to church-state separation and diversity is better equipped than a GOP in thrall to an ever-militant Christian Right to cope with the religious trends of the country as they appear today.